Despite the rising popularity of micro-homes, the vast majority of student tenants are still looking to get the most space for their money when it comes to their university accommodation. The amount of space you have to offer may be limited, but you can make the most of what you do have by making smaller rooms appear and feel more spacious, thereby making them more appealing to prospective tenants.
A Light Colour Scheme Is Key to Opening Up the Space
Choose light colours for the walls, because darker tones will make small rooms feel cramped – but don’t go for plain white, because this can look cold and clinical. Instead, choose off-white colours or muted pastel shades. Remember that muted doesn’t have to mean boring or beige.
On-trend colours, like pastel green or dusky blue, will not only make the space seem larger but will also make the property more appealing to students who are looking for a modern finish. If you’re uncertain about what colours will work best for each room, take a look at our guide on the psychology of design, to learn about what colours work best for which type of space.
To really make the most of every space, it’s important to consider the skirting boards and door-frames as well. Painting them in a lighter shade that complements the colour of the walls will help them blend in seamlessly, whereas leaving them white can often make them stand out, further emphasizing the size of the room. You should also paint the ceiling in a way that complements the walls – once again, in a lighter shade – to draw the eye upwards.
Different tints and shades of the same base colour across the walls, ceiling, skirting, and door-frames will help them fade into the background, drawing attention away from the small size of a room.
Make the Most of the Furniture
If you don’t have a lot of space at your disposal, prepare to be ruthless when it comes to the furniture. You need to be certain that every item is working hard for its right to be there, and that it serves a specific function. Minimise the number of items you need to furnish each room by investing in multifunctional pieces that will save you both space and money. Or, invest in furniture that also doubles as storage – such as seating storage – so that your tenants can have space to store anything they don’t want to display, without compromising on space.
Use sofas with raised legs to create an air of openness and movement, and don’t feel like you have to banish furniture to the edges of the room. Instead, position pieces at an angle and move them a couple of inches away from the wall; pushing everything to the outer edges can emphasise the lack of space.
Focus on keeping furniture elegant but understated. By investing in stylish pieces, you can do away with accessories like couch cushions, which can look clunky and crowd up the small space, and may not last long enough to prove their worth. Adding a console table is also a great way of making the room appear larger, as they give off the appearance of taking up more space than they actually do, and double as storage space.
Choose Large Statement Pieces Over Small Accessories
Accessories can really make or break a room when it comes to its appearance. Ditch the knick-knacks and focus on large statement pieces for accessorising rooms. Placing large items in small spaces may sound counterproductive, but adding a few larger pieces can actually create the illusion of space by acting as focus points.
Mirrors are always a wise choice for accessories, because they help bounce light around the room, making the most of the natural light coming in. They also make rooms appear bigger, because they reflect space, making it seem like there is more of it. Considering alternatives to overhead lighting can also benefit a small room, because multiple lighting elements can brighten up all the little nooks and crannies, drawing the eye to multiple points.
If it’s possible, ditch drapes and curtains – leaving windows uncovered will add more depth to the room – but if that’s not possible, go for light curtains and choose drapes in muted shades. Another tip is to hang curtain-rods away from the window and nearer to the ceiling, which draws attention upwards.
Colour-coordinating the furniture with the accessories will also streamline the space and give it a consistent theme; too many different colours will draw the eye to them and make the space feel cluttered.
No matter how big or small the rooms in your properties are, it’s always worth investing some time and money into showing them off in the best lights possible and to utilising the space to its full potential.
For some more advice on property design, take a look at our guide to designing a room that’s perfect for sleep, and our article about what types of furniture students want in 2017.